Risk of disease is multifactorial and can be shaped by socio-economic, demographic, cultural, environmental and genetic factors. Our understanding of the genetic determinants of disease risk has greatly advanced with the advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which detect associations between genetic variants and complex traits or diseases by comparing populations of cases and controls. However, much of this discovery has occurred through GWAS of individuals of European ancestry, with limited representation of other populations, including from Africa, The Americas, Asia and Oceania. Population demography, genetic drift and adaptation to environments over thousands of years have led globally to the diversification of populations. This global genomic diversity can provide new opportunities for discovery and translation into therapies, as well as a better understanding of population disease risk. Large-scale multi-ethnic and representative biobanks and population health resources provide unprecedented opportunities to understand the genetic determinants of disease on a global scale.